High alert as US warns of terror attack
| June 24th 2012
By CYRUS OMBATI
The US Embassy in Nairobi has warned of a possible terror attack in Mombasa and asked US Government personnel to leave the coastal town.
On Saturday, the embassy said in a statement that travel by officials of the US Government to Mombasa is suspended until July 1.
“US private citizens are not subject to the same restrictions, but should consider this information in their travel planning,” read the statement.
This is the third such travel advisory issued by the US since Kenyan troops crossed to Somalia to hunt down Al Shabaab militants. But Acting Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia said there was no cause for alarm, adding security agencies are ahead of events.
He said police have been thwarting several terror attempts in the country linked to the terror group. “We work with even the FBI in this war. We are ahead of the criminals,” he said.
Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere also said police are working round the clock to ensure the country is safe.
The advisory came days after police said they had arrested two Iranians after they seized chemicals they suspect were to be used to make explosives in Mombasa.
Mombasa, Nairobi and other parts of the country have suffered a series of grenade attacks since last year. Police arrested two Iranian terror suspects on Wednesday. On Thursday, police flew one of the suspects to Mombasa, where he led them to recover 15 kg of powder, which security experts took for testing.
Kimemia said the chemical was apparently part of the consignment impounded by anti terrorism officers at a go-down in Changamwe. He said police are seeking to establish if the substances are linked to any terror groups, including Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda and any other group.
He added Kenya had sought the help of international agencies such the FBI and Interpol in dealing with security threats.
“We have been working with them in terms of identifying criminals. We cannot fight terrorism alone. You have to work with other partners and other state organs,” he said.
In the most recent attack, a bomb exploded in a trading centre in the heart of Nairobi in May, killing one person and wounding more than 30 people.
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